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Tech bans to be relaxed: US

Updated: 2013-12-21 01:05
By Zhao Yinan and Dujuan ( China Daily)

Ties with Beijing will advance well despite recent friction, experts say

Tech bans to be relaxed: US

From right: Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu, Vice-Premier Wang Yang, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, US Trade Representative Michael Froman and US Ambassador to China Gary Locke exchange congratulations after signing agreements in Beijing on Friday.[FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY]

The United States said on Friday it will "actively" carry out a plan to lift bans on high-tech exports to China, a long-term irritant in economic ties between the world's two largest economies.

The development is a sign that recent military and trade friction will not deter the two nations from steadily advancing their economic relations, experts said.

Wang Chao, vice-minister of commerce, said the US has agreed to promote high-tech exports to China, especially in civil aviation, information technology and oil and gas exploration for civilian use.

The agreement was reached at annual trade talks between the two countries in Beijing.

In 2011, they signed a plan covering US technology exports to China in major sectors as well as an agreement on its implementation, but experts said Beijing and Washington have made little progress in boosting high-tech trade.

Wang said the US restrictions on technology exports are a major reason for the trade deficit between the two countries.

"It is beneficial for both countries to reach consensus on the issue. Technological products from the US accounted for about 18 percent of China's total technology imports nearly a decade ago, but now this stands at 7 percent," he said.

Niu Jun, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University, said the US move is a very tentative step forward.

"The US has shown its sincerity to some extent, but it is difficult to draw a clear line between civilian and military purposes, as many technologies and products can be used both ways," he said.

"US concerns over the exports are still huge," Niu said.

The two countries also signed a memorandum on energy cooperation on Friday, but no further details have been disclosed.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economic Research at Xiamen University, said China urgently needs shale gas exploration technology from the US.

"It also needs US technology in the clean-energy sector, such as the use of wind, solar and nuclear power."

This year's session of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, the first high-level trade talks between the countries since President Xi Jinping took office in March, was held amid tensions between their navies and as China rejected hundreds of tons of US genetically modified corn.

The US missile cruiser

Cowpens entered the Chinese navy's drilling waters in the South China Sea on Dec 5 — despite warnings from China's aircraft carrier task group — and almost collided with a Chinese warship.

On Friday, China said it has rejected 12 batches of US corn shipments totaling 545,000 metric tons and tainted with a genetically modified strain not approved by Beijing.

But Niu, from Peking University, dismissed speculation that Sino-US relations may cool, saying the two sides are "moving toward the right direction, with minor conflicts".

"Some are pessimistic about the relationship, because it has gone through many ups and downs in recent years. But I think it is one of the most durable among big powers, because of high interdependence," he said.

Contact the writers at zhaoyinan@chinadaily.com.cn and dujuan@chinadaily.com.cn

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